6 Mysterious Deaths That'll Make You Believe in Conspiracies

#3. Crime Novelist "Hanged Himself" ... Wearing a Bulletproof Vest and Brass Knuckles

Валентин Агапов/iStock/Getty Images

Professional writer, tough guy, and Lou Ferrigno lookalike Eugene Izzi was getting ready for his next work of crime fiction to hit bookstores when he was found dead. Who found him? Not one person, but thousands of citizens of Chicago -- on December 6, 1996, holiday shoppers looked up in horror to see Izzi's body hanging by a noose from the window of his downtown writing office like a morbid Christmas decoration.

The cops ruled it a suicide, but something doesn't make sense: If you wanted to kill yourself, why would you put on a bulletproof vest?

Via VJ Books
What could the vest stop that this guy's physique couldn't already?

In addition to the vest, a loaded gun was in the office, and stuffed into Izzi's pockets were a set of brass knuckles, $481, a Mace-like spray, some printed notes, and three computer disks containing a work-in-progress novel. On the one hand, we're guessing his death was swift thanks to all that shit weighing down his pants. On the other hand, what the hell?

Oddly enough, the biggest clue was in the most innocuous object: Those notes were transcripts of threatening phone calls he'd been getting. At the time of his death, Izzi was researching an Indiana white supremacist paramilitary group that he planned to expose in his next book, and it turns out that those guys don't like it so much when you do that. Izzi felt threatened enough to move into a hotel away from his family and carry a gun on him at all times.

St. Martin's Press
Although we're guessing he'd already been doing that last part regardless.

At one point, he let a friend listen to his voice mail, and one call in particular stands out: A woman left a message saying he would be hanging by the end of the year. So, uh, there's that.

However, the cops also pointed out that Izzi's death was eerily similar to a scene in his unfinished novel, right down to the bulletproof vest and brass knuckles. Did he give out advance copies to the militiamen and inspire them? Or was this some kind of viral publicity? He did manage to release three books after his death, so maybe he's actually living somewhere in Europe with Tupac and Elvis.

#2. Danny Casolaro "Slashed His Wrists" While Investigating a Government Scandal

Jessica Biggs/Hemera/Getty Images

Danny Casolaro was a man obsessed with uncovering a vast government conspiracy he called "the Octopus." Shockingly, he only used tinfoil to wrap food and looked like he bathed fairly often. The most compelling piece of evidence for his theory? Him turning up dead right as he said he was about to prove it.

Via Wikipedia
"Told ya so." -Final words

It all started with something as innocent as the Justice Department pirating software. Casolaro, a journalist, was researching a story about how the DOJ allegedly stole a piece of software called PROMIS from a company called Inslaw, started selling it to other countries, and then, as an extra "fuck you," drove Inslaw to bankruptcy. A judge sided with Inslaw and accused the Justice Department of "trickery, fraud, and deceit" ... only for his ruling to be overturned, and for him to lose his job.

Looking into Inslaw, Casolaro met with computer expert Michael Riconosciuto, who said he helped the DOJ modify PROMIS to spy on the other countries using it. The same dude also claimed to have helped the GOP negotiate with Iran in 1980 to keep the hostage crisis going and make sure Jimmy Carter didn't get re-elected -- a totally insane conspiracy theory espoused only by complete nutjobs ... like the president of Iran in 1980. Anyway, only a week after testifying to all of this, Riconosciuto was abruptly arrested for dealing meth.

Pierce County Sheriff's Dept.
Option A: This explains everything. Option B: This explains everything.

You might be seeing a pattern by now; everyone who spoke up in the Inslaw case ended up worse off than they were before. Despite that, and despite no longer needing an alarm clock thanks to all the threatening phone calls he was getting, Casolaro kept digging. And then, just as he was supposed to meet with a source who would help him prove everything, he turned up dead in his hotel room with 12 slices in his wrists. Casolaro was very squeamish about blood, by the way -- his brother thinks he would have passed out after one cut, let alone a dozen.

A suicide note was found in the room. Not found? His notes about the case. And now for the freakiest detail: Casolaro's family says that during the funeral, a decorated military man showed up in a limousine, placed a medal on the lowering casket, and left. Was he a werewolf or a shape-shifter or something? Because then at least this would make sense: It was an X-Files episode all along.

#1. U.N. Secretary General Died in the Shadiest Plane "Accident" Ever

AP, via BBC

Dag Hammarskjold may sound like a drummer for a Swedish death metal band, but he was something even more rocking: the U.N. Secretary General from 1953 to 1961. He was "the greatest statesman of the century," according to big fan JFK, and the only person to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize posthumously. But why was it posthumous? Apparently because he was too good at his job.

On September 18, 1961, it was business as usual for Hammarskjold; he was heading to Congo to single-handedly end a civil war. Unfortunately, his plane crashed. It was a shocking tragedy grieved by countries big and small alike.

"We'll never forget you, Mr. Ham ... Hamsjr ... Dag."

Well, maybe not all countries. Hammarskjold's death was awfully convenient for several nations with a presence in the region at the time, all for one thing and one thing only: uranium (also tin, copper, and other minerals, but uranium sounds evil enough). Some were furious that Hammarskjold authorized U.N. action. This may come as a major shock, but the USA was one of them. Belgium and the U.K. were also in the mix. Congo was basically a cookie jar with a bunch of hands stuck in it, and Hammarskjold was trying his best to cookie-block when his plane went down.

His death could be nothing more than a happy coincidence, but there are several things that don't add up. First of all, why were authorities seen at the crash site before they supposedly "found" it? Why did the lone survivor believe there were explosions or gunfire before the plane went down? Why was Hammarskjold the only person on the flight who was not burned? Why was there a bullet-size hole in his head, and why was it airbrushed out of photos? And to fully turn this into a conspiracy theorist's wet dream, why was a freaking ace of spades tucked into his collar?

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
"Clearly, he was a time-traveling Motorhead fan from the future. Mystery solved. Move on."

Even Harry S. Truman came out and said that he thought Hammarskjold was straight up 187'ed. Still, it was 50 years before these questions began to be taken seriously. This April, evidence that the NSA didn't care to share until now implicated a former RAF pilot. So, it may be time to stop calling this one a conspiracy "theory."

Related Reading: Hey, did you hear about the fascist coup that tried to overthrow FDR? You can read about it here. And have you heard about Operation: Make Everyone Fatter? Read it here. We've got a lot more where that all came from if you've got a mind for conspiracies.

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